No, My Family Member Didn’t ‘Deserve To Die’ Because He Struggled With Addiction

No, My Family Member Didn’t ‘Deserve To Die’ Because He Struggled With Addiction

That person you have equated to be nothing more than their addiction is so much more than that.
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I'm sick of hearing these words. I'm absolutely sick and tired of hearing these words come out of others' mouths. It's repulsive and dehumanizing to say that someone "deserves to die" because of a struggle with substance abuse or alcohol abuse.

You can make the argument that he "made a choice." Go ahead, do it. You're entitled to your opinion.

But don't you dare say that he deserved to die.

You're saying that about someone's loved one. You're saying that about a human being who struggled with a very real and very prevalent problem in today's society.

If the tables were flipped, how would you feel?

How would you feel if you had people say to you, "he made a choice, so he has to pay for the consequences."

We talk about them like criminals. As if death is a "deserved side effect" of drug and alcohol usage.

When a teenager dies from an overdose, we're saying, "wow, that's tragic, he was so young." But when an adult dies, we say, "oh, he should have known better."

If that adult has been using since childhood, no, he or she really may not "know better."

I get it, OK. I get that not everyone believes drug addiction and alcohol addiction are diseases. As I said earlier, you're completely entitled to your opinion.

But to say someone deserved death, that's repulsive.

When people say that people with drug and alcohol addictions deserve to die, it's personal for me.

It's personal because I lost someone from those very causes.

It's personal because every day I choose not to drink even though I'm 21.

It's personal because every day I see people using drugs in and around my campus while I walk by avoiding the shouts to "buy some."

That person you have decided is nothing more than their addiction is so much more than that.

We all have our problems. Even Kim Kardashian, who the media believes to be perfect, has her problems.

But, until we recognize that someone who struggles with drug and alcohol usage is still a human being, our rhetoric isn't going to change.

I'm sorry to break it to you, but if you've ever made a nasty comment about someone struggling with addiction by calling them a "junkie" or some other foul word, you're part of the problem.

If you refer to someone who has gone through rehab as "clean" you're also part of the problem because that implies that those who aren't "clean," aka those who are using, are "dirty."

Again, that makes you part of the problem.

I'm not saying we are going to up and change overnight. I know that isn't realistic.

We do, however, need to be conscientious of how and why we use the rhetoric that we do when it comes to those in recovery and those struggling with addiction.

Sit back for a second and put yourself in their shoes.

How would you feel if you had people telling you that you deserved to die?

Just let that one sink in, and then come back and tell me how you feel about that rhetoric you've been using.

Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Addiction Prevention And Recovery Starts At Home

You can make a difference without leaving your house.

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The town in which I attended high school is a small one. It's a town where everyone knows your name, and if you're like me, you probably have at least 30 cousins in the area.

It's a place where we spend most of our lives- living, loving and growing. Many of us will even raise our future families here and watch them leave their mark on the place that made us who we are today.

But lately, this town has seen a dark cloud hover above it. That cloud is addiction.

It seems as though more often than not, I'm scrolling through my news feed and I stumble across an obituary of a former classmate or an old friend. It's sad to read the stories and see the photos of so many young people who lost their battle.

The truth is, each one of us can probably name at least three people who have overdosed and died without having to think too hard.

It seems that in this community losing young lives is all too normal.

Which beckons me to ask, what are we doing to prevent this from becoming "normal?"

While of course many of us don't have huge platforms or opportunities to increase and expand on the drug prevention efforts in schools, we do have the opportunity to be positive figures in our family units.

I won't pretend that I know exactly what goes on in the mind of an addict, but as someone who has been indirectly affected by addiction, I do think what matters most is what goes on at home.

More often than not, I hear people say that "you need to be a parent, not a friend." I for one think it's important to be both. Of course, discipline your child! Don't encourage bad behavior or decisions, but by all means, try your very best to keep an open dialogue going with your children.

Talk to your kids about topics that are maybe a little bit uncomfortable, give them a safe place to ask questions and discuss.

I urge you... if your child does become involved with drugs or anything else for that matter, don't turn your back them. As families, many of us are familiar with the term "unconditional love." So if that term means anything to you, then do your best to show it in trying times.

Do your best to provide them with helpful resources and hold them accountable, but most importantly shower them with love and encouragement. Help them find the motivation they need to become the best possible version of themselves.

Although it may not seem like much, it very well could save someone's life.

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